The equestrian facilities for the postponed Olympics are ready to go and set to hold future fixtures after the Games. H&H finds out more...
The completed equestrian facilities for the Tokyo Olympics are “stunning” – and could host more major events in future.
Carola Brighenti, the Games’ assistant to eventing coordinator Alec Lochore, told H&H that while finishing touches will not be made until just before the postponed event next summer, the equestrian park is complete.
“It’s owned by the Japan Racing Association, and they’ve invested quite a lot in it,” she said, adding that more events will be held there after the Games. “I wouldn’t be surprised if in 2023, we had the Global Champions Tour in Tokyo.”
Ms Brighenti said the main park, for the dressage and showjumping, will seat about 9,000 people, while Sea Forest Park, where the cross-country will run, has capacity for 10,000.
She added the facilities will be “breathtaking” for spectators.
“They’ve done a great job keeping green spaces,” she said. “Of the area inside the green track, half is cross-country training and the other half a forest, which people can walk through, with a ‘nest’ so they can climb up and see the venue from above.”
A good atmosphere is likely, with dressage and showjumping taking place under floodlights in the evenings, to beat the heat.
Ms Brighenti said feedback from riders after the 2019 test event was positive, and the footing will be tested extensively before the Games to ensure it is of the highest quality.
The showjumps are being made by a French company, and there will be a Japanese theme.
“Between the jumping and cross-country, everything we can will be about Japan,” she said.
In other areas, work is ongoing and preparations will restart next March, a year after they stopped owing to the coronavirus.
The Tokyo organising committee announced last month it was working on more than 200 ideas to simplify and reduce costs for the rescheduled Games, and that reducing the number of spectators has not been ruled out, although the competition schedule remains unchanged at present.
An FEI spokesman told H&H: “Along with all international federations, the FEI is in close collaboration with the International Olympic and Paralympic Committees, and the Tokyo Organising Committee to start identifying areas where we can improve cost efficiency in the overall service delivery of both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, while always taking into account the health and safety of everyone involved.”
The Tokyo Organising Committee confirmed on Friday 17 July that the equestrian competition dates in 2021 are to move forward by one day so the events take place on the same days of the week as was originally planned. This means the equestrian events that were due to start on Saturday 25 July 2020 and finish on Saturday 8 August 2020 will run from Saturday 24 July 2021 to Saturday 7 August 2021. There are also some minor modifications being made to the starting times.
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